Dog Proximity Collars ** What You NEED To Know

Does your dog keep escaping from the yard? To keep your pet from becoming lost or injured, you may think about either installing an electric fence or using a proximity shock collar. Here’s everything you need to know about a proximity dog shock collar.

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What is a proximity shock collar?

In the large market of shock collars, there are two different tents. There are training shock collars designed to help curb bad behavior in your dog. Then there are proximity dog shock collars. 

These collars come with specific yardage or footage that is considered the safety zone. The dog can safely navigate through this zone without being shocked. 

When the collar approaches the end of the safe zone, it typically emits a warning sound. The dog, once trained, learns that it has reached the boundary of its territory. 

If the dog continues to move past the boundary, they receive a shock.

PetSafe Stay & Play Wireless Fence for Stubborn Dogs – Above Ground Electric Pet Fence – from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand

What is the range of a shock collar?

There are numerous ranges available for shock collars. The specific range depends on the collar that you purchase. 

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However, it is possible to have a collar that extends as small as a 330-yard area whereas others might be able to encompass 2 miles. Some can offer a range of yard coverage to choose from. 

You may start with small yardage, but if you discover that your dog needs more room to run around, then you can expand the boundary zone.

Slopehill Dog Training Collar with Beep, Vibration, Shock and Light Training Modes, Rechargeable Dog Shock Collar with 2600 Feet Remote Range, Waterproof, Adjustable

What’s the difference between a proximity shock collar and a wireless electric fence?

The largest difference between a shock collar and an electric fence is that a fence is a visible physical barrier. A shock collar is essentially an invisible wireless fence.

The invisible fence can be created with a central transmitter that creates a wireless sphere boundary (see picture above). You can also build these using an underground wire. Underground fences are best when you have very large yards or oddly shaped yards that won’t fit the spherical shape.

PetSafe Basic In-Ground Dog and Cat Fence, from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand, Underground Electric Pet Fence

Key Point – Electric fences produce a shock when your dog touches the hot wire. Wireless electric fences trigger the shock collar to respond. It can respond with a beep, light, vibration, or a static correction (shock)

Slopehill Dog Training Collar with Beep, Vibration, Shock and Light Training Modes, Rechargeable Dog Shock Collar with 2600 Feet Remote Range, Waterproof, Adjustable

Fences can obstruct your view of the surrounding area. It also can be a danger for families with children or other natural wildlife in the area. It shocks anything that touches it. 

When a dog attempts to go near the fence or jump over it, the fence gives them a shock. They quickly learn to stay away from the fence.

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A proximity collar does the same thing without the fence. Except it also gives your dog a warning before it is shocked.

Keeping Your Dog In The Yard With a Proximity Collar

For our full training on using proximity collars see our article here on training your dog to use a wireless or invisible fence and shock collar.

Expect the training to take from 1 to 3 weeks. It’s crucial that you do this well and use the lowest setting possible to train your dog. The proximiaty collar should act as a trigger not as a punishment. Think of them more like a clicker. It gets the dogs attention, then they do the desired behavior (back away from the boundary), then they get a reward (during training sessions), and eventually learn that the beep on the collar means to back away.

Benefits of using a proximity shock collar

There are quite a few benefits of using a shock collar over other means of keeping a dog in the yard. For one, dogs quickly learn where their boundaries are. 

When used with flags or other small indicators of the edge of the boundary, the dog will recognize those small reminders as the edge of their boundary. In time, they may even be able to roam without the collar. 

They’ll see the small flags or other physical indicators and keep from passing them.

A final benefit of using a proximity shock collar is that it keeps your dog and children safe. 

Collars are typically safe for dogs, although you may need to experiment with the different levels of shock to ensure it isn’t too strong. 

They receive a single burst of electric shock which is intense enough to keep them away from the boundary edge. It removes the need for an electric fence which gives a consistent shock and can seriously harm your dog or child if they brush up against it. 

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By learning where their boundary ends, the dog will stay in the yard and no longer run off or chase after cars.

Cons of using a proximity shock collar

The biggest negative to using a proximity shock collar is simply the pain. There are other methods for teaching your dog to stay in the yard that doesn’t involve negative reinforcement. 

For those who don’t want their dog to experience a small electric shock, then a proximity shock collar might not be for you.

In other cases, the electric shock might not be strong enough for larger dogs or stubborn dogs. You should test the collar on yourself first to determine the strength of the shock. 

Then you can see how your dog takes to it. If they do not seem fazed, then you might need to find a stronger collar.

A Quick Word on Shock Collars from a Vet

We reached out to a vet in our industry about shock collars and what they think. Here’s they Dr. Sabrina Kong had to say…

Shock collars are great training tools for correcting unwanted behaviors in
your dog, and even though many people claim they’re cruel and that they do
more harm than good to your dog, shock collars are completely safe and
harmless when used correctly. The first and most important rule to using a
shock collar correctly and humanely is using it only when you see a bad
behavior you want to correct.

First and foremost, you should never shock your dog at random since you
will be sending them a wrong signal and, of course, it’s completely
unnecessary. And secondly but equally important, make sure to communicate
the behavior you want to see from them and reward them when they replicate
it; if you shock your dog for something but skip this step, you’re
basically shocking them for nothing, making training sessions an endless
and gruesome nightmare for them.

Have a nice day!

Best regards,

Dr. Sabrina Kong, DVM, We Love Doodles

Arguments against using a proximity shock collar

One of the most passionate arguments about using a proximity shock collar is about the humane treatment of the dog. Some advocates see shock collars as animal abuse. 

It’s recommended that you attempt positive reinforcement strategies for boundary training before using a shock collar.

How do I keep my dog away from an area?

If you want your dog to stay out of an area, then there are a few different methods. The proximity shock collar can certainly work. It keeps your dog in a specific region. 

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Traditional fences might also work well to keep your dog from an area. You can also leash them or train them with positive reinforcement to stay close to you.

If you need a small system to keep dogs off tables or other indoor areas we recommend this system (shown in the picture below as well).

PetSafe Pawz Away Indoor Pet Barrier with Adjustable Range – Dog and Cat Home Proofing – Static Correction – Wireless Pet Gate Keeps Areas Off Limits – Battery-Operated – For Pets 5 lbs. and Up

If you want to keep dogs away from a pool or garden then we recommend setting up an underground fence. It’s a bit more work as you have to bury the boundary wire a few inches into the ground. The benefit is you can have it match any shaped pool or garden perfectly. For keeping dogs out of defined outdoor areas we recommend this system (see wiring diagram C below for example of keeping dogs out of a pool area).

PetSafe Basic In-Ground Dog and Cat Fence, from the Parent Company of Invisible Fence Brand, Underground Electric Pet Fence

Please note with both systems shown above you need proper training to get the dog to understand how the proximity collar works. See our full training here.

Do wireless dog fences really work?

As long as the collar is charged and the unit is plugged in, the wireless dog fence should work. 

Some dogs are clever and will wear the batteries of the collar out, and then leave the boundary. These dogs may need additional training.

How can I keep my dog in the yard without a fence?

A dog shock collar can help keep a dog inside a boundary area without the use of a fence. In this sense, the fence is invisible. 

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You can also choose to only let your dog out on a leash. 

Some leashes attach to a zip line-like device that allows your dog to roam around a certain area and then restrains them from moving past that area.

How much does a shock collar cost for a dog?

Prices vary depending on the brand and yardage covered. Some are affordable and are around $30. 

Others that offer more yardage are more expensive. They can range up to the $250 area. The more complex the system is, the costlier it is going to be.

Dog Shock Collar Proximity